Review: The Perfect Murder, Buxton Opera House

'The Perfect Murder' PlayThere were killer one-liners from the moment the curtain lifted on the edge-of-your-seat-thriller The Perfect Murder.

The audience at Buxton Opera House were either hooting with laughter or hiding their eyes as the plot thickened in front of them.

It is no surprise that the adaptation of a tale penned by one of Britain’s top crime writers Peter James is a huge theatre hit and I can confirm that it is an ace night out.

To give the plot away would clearly spoil the fun so all you need to know is that the fast-paced detective drama is packed with enough twists and turns to keep you in suspense until the end.

It is not so much a whodunit as a have-they-dunit.

Victor Smiley and his wife Joan have been married for years and they have reached a crisis point – nothing in common and no desire for each other.

He dreams of a new life with Kamila the pretty prostitute he visits three times a week and Joan is having a fling with wide boy taxi driver Don Kirk.

He has decided there is only one way to get her out of his life…but Joan has her own ideas for his future.

Meanwhile a young Detective Roy Grace (the star of the Peter James crime series) starts to investigate his very first murder case and begins to fear nothing is quite as it seems.

In the all star cast Victor is played by Robert Daws, who is best known to millions as Dr Gordon Omerod in The Royal, and Joan by Dawn Steele, who was Lexie in Monarch of the Glen.

Gray O’Brien, who we won’t forget as the evil Tony Gordon in Coronation Street, plays Don Kirk and Romanian-born Simona Armstrong who plays Kamila was in the live final of How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

Thomas Howes, who was William the footman in Downton Abbey, is the rooky detective.

The comic timing of the whole cast was spot on – especially in one scene involving a body, bin bags and duct tape.

I think I may have said enough if you want to know more get yourself to Buxton as the play runs until Saturday September 27. For ticket information go to

The novel was adapted for stage by Shaun McKenna and the play directed by Ian Talbot. The superb set was designed by Michael Holt.